Based on the Michael Lewis-penned book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, the film version with the abbreviated title is backed by a slew of awards favorites, including screenwriters Steven Zaillian (Oscar winner for Schindler’s List, 1993) and Aaron Sorkin (Oscar winner for The Social Network, 2010); director Bennett Miller (Oscar nominee for Capote, 2006); and producers Michael De Luca (Oscar nominee for The Social Network), Rachael Horovitz (Emmy winner for HBO’s Grey Gardens, 2009), and Scott Rudin (Oscar winner for No Country for Old Men, 2007). And then, of course, there’s the acting talent, lead by Brad Pitt (Oscar nominee for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, 2008) with a supporting performance by Philip Seymour Hoffman (Oscar winner for Capote).
So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, “Oscar voters, pay attention.”
There are several things I love about the fall, my favorite season. Chief among them is that it’s the start of awards season—all of the year’s best movies are reserved until this time of year with the thought being that Academy Award voters are most likely to remember the last movies they see. (It’s not a surprise that films that open earlier in the year are largely ignored come February’s ceremony.) It’s all about strategy. And it works. Just ask Billy Beane (portrayed by Pitt in Moneyball), who leveraged an unconventional strategy to build a successful baseball team in 2002. (Excuse me while I pat myself on the back for this pretty awesome segue.)
Billy Beane was once a would-be baseball superstar who, stung by the failure to live up to expectations on the field, turned his fiercely competitive nature to management. Heading into the 2002 season, Billy faces a dismal situation: his small-market Oakland A’s has lost its star players (again) to big-market clubs (and their enormous salaries) and is left to rebuild his team and compete with a third of its payroll. Driven to win, Billy takes on the system by challenging the fundamental tenants of the game. He looks outside of baseball, to the dismissed theories of Bill James, and hires Peter Brand, a brainy, number-crunching, Yale-educated economist. Together, they take on conventional wisdom with a willingness to re-examine everything and armed with computer-driven statistical analysis long ignored by the baseball establishment. They reach imagination-defying conclusions and go after players overlooked and dismissed by the rest of baseball for being too odd, too old, too injured, or too much trouble, but who all have key skills that are universally undervalued. As Billy and Peter forge forward, their new methods and roster of misfits rile the old guard, the media, the fans, and their own field manager, who refuses to cooperate. Ultimately, this experiment will lead not only to a change in the way the game is played, but to an outcome that would leave Billy with a new understanding that transcends the game and delivers him to a new place. (courtesy of Yahoo! Movies)
Director: Bennett Miller
Screenwriters: Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin
Producers: Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Scott Rudin
Cast: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, Chris Pratt
Genre: Drama, Sport
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Official Site: moneyball-movie.com
Runtime: 133 min.